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Pre-Diabetes: How Do I Know if I Have it?

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which people have higher-than-normal glucose levels but not enough to indicate diabetes. It is also known as borderline diabetes, impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance. Pre-diabetes usually doesn’t have any symptoms but are at higher risk for developing full blown diabetes.

In contrast to diabetes when there is either complete absence of insulin or inefficient use of insulin; pre-diabetes is characterized by imbalance between glucose and insulin levels in the body.

Those with pre-diabetes are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and other complications as well as associated conditions like heart disease, stroke and eye problems.

How is pre-diabetes diagnosed?

Doctors perform any of the following two blood tests to determine whether you have high blood sugar levels than it is in the normal case:

  1. During the FPGT Test aka Impaired fasting glucose if it detects that the blood glucose level is higher than normal after fasting for eight hours (between 6.1 and 6.9 mmol/L) but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.
  2. Impaired glucose tolerance which is diagnosed using an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) and the two hour blood test is higher than normal (between 7.8 and 11.0 mmol/L) but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.

Who are at risk?

Following states put one at a risk of pre-diabetes:

  1. If you’re aged 45 years or above
  2. Overweight and physically inactive
  3. Large waistline
  4. Family history of diabetes, heart disease or stroke
  5. Suffering from high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  6. Had gestational diabetes
  7. Ever diagnosed with polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS)
  8. Excessive smoking

Does pre-diabetes always lead to diabetes?

Not always but chances are more. Almost all those who suffer from Type 2 diabetes had pre-diabetes.

How do I know if I have pre-diabetes?

There are no specific signs and symptoms that signal pre-diabetes except diagnostic tests that show abnormally higher blood sugar levels.

Is it important to treat pre-diabetes?

Yes because this condition acts as a precursor to Type 2 diabetes and may also lead to other complications like diabetic eye diseases (retinopathy), kidney diseases (nephropathy) or nerve damage (neuropathy).

How to manage pre-diabetes?

The best way to manage pre-diabetes is by making certain lifestyle changes like:

  1. Reducing excess weight
  2. Stay physically active
  3. Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet
  4. Stop smoking
  5. Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control
  6. Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol

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